Is There Christianity In Japan

Christianity In Japan – Historical Context

The modern history of Christianity in Japan begins with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries in the mid-16th century. The Portuguese Jesuits were the first to establish Catholic missions in Kyushu, establishing churches and schools around the areas of Nagasaki and later Kyoto. Their mission, to spread the faith and bring Catholicism to Japan, was largely unsuccessful and their numbers dropped by the early 17th century. It wasn’t until the arrival of missionary groups from Europe in the late 19th century that Christianity began to take hold in Japan, although its presence remained largely small and isolated.
As the Meiji government began to embrace more western-style reforms, Christianity received more acceptance by the general population. Protestant missionaries were especially influential in the fields of education, medicine and women’s rights. By the 1920s, Christianity had grown popular enough to become an official “recognized” religion in Japan, an accomplishment that contributed to the growth and diversity of the faith across the country.

Current State Of Christianity In Japan

Today, Christianity is one of the largest religions in Japan with over a million adherents, most of whom follow the Protestant or Catholic denominations. While estimates vary, Christianity makes up a small but significant portion of the Japanese population—probably around 2%.
Christianity remains a minority belief among Japanese people, with the majority of the population still adhering to their traditional faith of Shintoism or Buddhism (or both). Despite this, Japan has traditionally been a tolerant nation when it comes to religious expression, and Christians are generally allowed to practice their faith without much difficulty.

Christianity In Japan – Perspectives From Experts

According to Hideki Nakashima, a professor at Kyoto University and expert in the field of Christianity in Japan, the presence of Christianity in Japan has been steadily increasing over the years. Although it is still a minority religion, it has gained more acceptance in the last few decades. He also mentions that many Japanese people who identify as Buddhist or Shinto may also practice some form of Christianity, as the two belief systems tend to mix together in Japan.
Nishioka Tsutomu, a Japanese Christian theologian, also adds that Christianity has been a beneficial addition to the Japanese religious landscape, as it has provided an important source of faith for many people in the country. In addition to the spiritual aspects of the faith, the presence of Christianity in Japan has also led to a wider outreach of services such as medical care and other humanitarian work, which has been especially helpful in rural areas.

Reaction Of The Japanese Society

The reaction of the Japanese society to Christianity has been mostly positive, as it is seen as providing an important source of faith in a predominately Shinto/Buddhist nation. Despite being a minority religion, Christians in Japan are generally tolerated and there haven’t been any widespread public scandals or issues associated with the faith.
This could be attributed to the fact that Christianity is seen as a foreign religion and is often seen as “un-Japanese”. This has kept it from becoming too entrenched in the country’s culture, which has kept it from becoming a target for hostility or marginalization.


In conclusion, Christianity has had a long history in Japan, but it is still far from being the country’s major religion. However, its presence has not been without its benefits, as it has provided an important source of faith to many people and helped to spread a number of important humanitarian and educational services to rural areas. Most importantly, Christianity has been largely seen as non-threatening by the Japanese society, making it a welcome addition to the country’s religious landscape.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

Leave a Comment